New Year, New Diet: Eating Healthier in 2022


Wikimedia Commons

The key to a good diet is a healthy balance of different kinds of food.

It’s now 2022. With this new year comes, quite naturally, New Year’s resolutions. And of course, one of the most popular resolutions from people all around the world is to eat healthier. However, more than 90% of people experience cravings for their favorite unhealthy foods, which is why most people stop their New Year’s Resolutions prematurely.

There are many ways in which to combat this though, but with all the advice thrown around online, many people are at a loss as to what to do. These are some of the most helpful ways to eat healthy and manage your cravings in 2022.

A first step in the quest to eat healthier is to stop eating meat (such as ham, burgers, sausages, and bacon). This isn’t for any religious or ethical reasons (although there is an argument to be made for that). This is because eating processed meat (aka 63-74% of the meat Americans eat, according to NCBI) is known to cause many illnesses. According to the NHS, eating processed red meat is “directly linked to bowel cancer, among other diseases.” Eating processed meat often, even as little as once a day, can cause these illnesses. Because of these reasons, it’s a good idea to stop eating meat.

However, if someone still wants to eat meat, there are easier ways to do so. Firstly, one can eat cured meat, which is much healthier than the traditional processed red meat. Examples of cured meat include prosciutto, salami, Spanish chorizo, pepperoni, and other salted/nitrated meats. Secondly, if one really wants to eat processed meat, there is data that suggests that eating processed meat once or twice a week is not harmful. So, think of it more as a treat than as an everyday thing. And finally, there are many, many vegetarian and vegan meat substitutes in your local stores, such as the Impossible Burger which is made completely from plants. Meat is perhaps the easiest thing to cut from one’s diet.

Traditional processed red meat. A good example of what kind of meat to avoid when trying to eat healthier. (Wikimedia Commons)

Another dietary restriction to start in 2022 is the stopping of your consumption of sugar. This is difficult, however, because sugar is a powerful chemical, and it is one that is highly addictive. Some studies by organizations like Addiction Hope have even suggested that sugar is “more addictive than cocaine.” Due to its addictive nature, obesity and diabetes are risks that people may face if they eat sugar often. This is why many people have decided to quit sugar for good.

Now, quitting sugar is hard. Really, really hard. But, there are ways to cope with it, although a lot of it comes down to determination. One common way people deal with sugar withdrawal is to have artificial sweeteners, but be warned that there are consequences for this course of action. While they are often hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar, animal studies have very convincingly proven that artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain, brain tumors, bladder cancer and many other health hazards. The worst part is, it can still leave you craving sugar.

One solution to deal with this is to have naturally occurring sugar, in the form of fruit. This sugar, known as fructose, is sweeter than table sugar, allowing for a reduction in the amount of sugar in someone’s diet. There’s also “a flavor enhancement benefit, as the perception of sweetness from fructose actually peaks and falls earlier than other sugars,” according to Calorie Control, “which allows for more dopamine to flow to someone’s brain in a quicker amount of time”. Another way to deal with sugar cravings is to have natural sweeteners, such as honey, date paste, real maple syrup, and other such replacements. Sugar is hard to quit, but using these replacements makes it much easier to remove sugar from your life.

Table sugar is especially difficult to cut out of one’s diet. (Wikimedia Commons)

The last major change people tend to make to their diet is the reduction of carbs. Carbohydrates can highly contribute to weight gain, and can also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. Most people change their diet mostly by cutting food like pasta and bread from their diet. Food and drinks allowed on a no-carb diet include fish, eggs, cheese, butter, oils, water, and plain coffee or tea. If you’re less picky, you can also eat nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables, and high-fat fruits like avocado and coconut since these foods are low in net carbs, according to Healthline. Like meat and sugar, there are substitutes to eating carbohydrate-rich foods. Instead of eating typical white or brown rice, one can eat cauliflower or broccoli rice; and instead of eating white pasta, one can eat courgetti. If you’re craving a sandwich or just bread in general, lettuce wraps are a good way to go. And of course, if you’re craving french fries or potato chips (and to be fair, who hasn’t?), you can always substitute potatoes for celeriac, or for kale chips. Carbohydrates cause your brain to feel pleasure, so it’s obviously not going to be easy to let go of them. However, these substitutes can make a no-carb diet that much more achievable.

Foods like bread contain lots of carbohydrates, and feature heavily in the average American’s diet. (Wikimedia Commons)

In 2022, we’re just getting back into school and into the workplace again. It makes sense that people have made the resolution to start being healthy again, and eating right is the best place to start. Hopefully these food substitutes and dietary facts will help you understand what you’re actually putting into your body, and how it will affect you. Here’s to a healthier and brighter 2022!